Alfie

What is it all about? For Brit-cad Alfie, who charms the pants off every woman who crosses his path, it's about zipless sex. This modern update of the 1966 Michael Caine film can't match the original's shock factor — abortion isn't the taboo subject it once was and the women of Sex and the City have helped make playing the field good, dirty fun — but...read more

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Reviewed by Angel Cohn
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What is it all about? For Brit-cad Alfie, who charms the pants off every woman who crosses his path, it's about zipless sex. This modern update of the 1966 Michael Caine film can't match the original's shock factor — abortion isn't the taboo subject it once was and the women of Sex and the City have helped make playing the field good, dirty fun — but Law's performance as archetypal bad-boy Alfie Elkins is immensely enjoyable. London transplant Alfie works as a chauffeur for a New York City limousine company, but he and his best pal, Marlon (Omar Epps), have loftier goals; their dream is to start their own high-end car service. In the meantime, metrosexual Alfie — who's as meticulous about his appearance as any trophy wife — devotes his free time to the pursuit of women, women and more women. Alfie doesn't believe in love, but happily cavorts in the backseat of a limo with unhappily married Dorie (Jane Krakowski), turns to the soft comforts of loyal single-mom Julie (Marisa Tomei), and entangles himself in an erotic game of pool with Marlon's sultry ex, Lonette (Nia Long). His gift: the ability to make each feel truly beautiful and desired. Alfie tires of Dorie, Julie gets fed up with playing second fiddle, and his one-night tryst with Lonette leaves her pregnant, but instead of changing his ways, Alfie moves on to fresh-faced party girl Nikki (Sienna Miller) and worldly Liz (Susan Sarandon), a wealthy older woman who gives him a run for his money. It takes a health scare and some disturbing intimations of what the future holds for aging playboys to convince the confirmed bachelor that he might be missing out on something by rejecting love. Law is captivating when he breaks the fourth wall to speak directly to viewers, and differentiates his performance from Caine's with a touch of vulnerability; Law's Alfie is still a ruthless heartbreaker, but when his karma comes back to bite him it actually hurts. Feminists may bemoan the fact that the film's female characters, at least some of whom ought to know better, hurl themselves at this shameless womanizer as heedlessly as inexperienced schoolgirls. But writer/director Charles Shyer gives Alfie's flawed and sometimes fragile 21st-century foxes more spine and self-respect that the original film's morose hausfraus and fluttering dolly birds. Long and Miller are especially well-cast members of a generally strong ensemble; only Tomei is bland in what should be a pivotal part.

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: R
  • Review: What is it all about? For Brit-cad Alfie, who charms the pants off every woman who crosses his path, it's about zipless sex. This modern update of the 1966 Michael Caine film can't match the original's shock factor — abortion isn't the taboo subject it onc… (more)

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